by Brooke Kennedy
Our top sellers for our May 10, 2023 Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction contained a surprising mix of lots, with most surpassing their estimates by a long shot. Take a look at a variety of pieces from the technically adept Steve Jobs to pop art icon Andy Warhol.
Now a corporate giant, Apple took the tech industry by storm with their line-up of iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks. However, their beginnings were humble, starting out in the garage of one Steve Jobs. Originally estimated to go for about $25,000, this $175 Steve Jobs signed check quadrupled that number, selling for an eye-watering $106,985. Apple Insider commented that the sum was, “in the range of a six-carat diamond,” or “about 133 iPhone 14s,” according to the Boston Business Journal.
Dated July 8, 1976, this check was typed out and signed by Jobs himself using his full name, Steven Jobs. The value of this check is enhanced by the use of Apple’s first official address at “770 Welch Rd., Ste. 154, Palo Alto.”. At this time, the address was of an answering service and mail drop the company used while Jobs was working out of his family garage. The check was made payable to consulting firm Crampton, Remke & Miller, who provided services to several high tech companies in the Northern California area including Xerox, Atari, and Memorex.
Bobby Livingston, Executive Vice President at RR Auction, stated, “It’s a remarkable flawless check from when Steve Jobs hired Apple’s first consulting firms—a central moment in the history of one of the most innovative and influential companies.”
Another surprise seller was a rare program signed by Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader between 1978 to 1989 which earned a staggering $78,958. This program was for a “Tea and Meeting in honor of His Excellency Deng Xiaoping” with members of the House of Representatives on January 30, 1979. Several weeks prior on January 1, China established diplomatic relations with the United States. As a result of this, Xiaoping became the first Chinese paramount leader to visit the US. During this visit that took place between January and February, the meeting with the House of Representatives occurred, making this an extraordinary piece of political history. The consignor noted that the program was signed for Congressman Samuel S. Stratton of New York, who is listed in the program’s guest list.
Bold and brightly colored, this silkscreen print of a Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup can was signed in blue ballpoint by artist Andy Warhol. Despite an estimate of $2,000, this print sold for ten times that amount for $22,390. From the mind of a pop art pioneer, this print is a derivative version of Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans silkscreen painting.
The reverse bears an annotation in pencil that reads, “Obtained by employee of Baltimore Art Museum while Warhol there on book signing. This was a custom made flyer for his appearance…The staff member took this off the wall & had Warhol sign it. She stated very few were signed of this unique poster.”
Though they didn’t make the top three, these few items still earned some impressive bids. Visit our website to learn more about this Lyndon B. Johnson signed check as president, a Beatles signed large-format Parlophone Records promo card, and a Ronald Reagan signed photograph to Warren Burger.
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Have a Steve Jobs signature or an Audrey Hepburn signed photo? We’d love to see it!